Heat wave breaks power records in Argentina, outages reported

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

High temperatures across Argentina coupled with greater industrial development and improved living standards continued to break power demand records and cause power outages.

After breaking national grid records on Saturday and Sunday, power demand reached 23,334MW on Monday (Dec 16) at 3:00pm, beating the previous workday record of 22,552MW set on July 22, 2013, according to a statement by the federal planning ministry.

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On Tuesday power demand broke the previous day's record reaching 23,433MW at 2:40pm.

The ministry reiterated the grid was operating normally on Tuesday and that there was at least 2,500MW of spare generation capacity, however, press reported outages in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area as a result of increased demand for air conditioning and ventilation.

In a separate press conference, planning minister Julio De Vido denied claims the outages were due to lack of investment and planning and instead attributed them to irresponsible power distributors.

Given a request by Argentine grid operator Cammesa amid the heat wave, Uruguayan grid operator ADME said that power stations Batlle, Bonete, Punta del Tigre, Palmar were run at full capacity while Salto Grande, a 1.89GW binational hydro plant on the Argentina-Uruguay border, was used to meet the remaining demand.

Power from Uruguay's Punta del Tigre, APR A, B, C, and CTR plants was exported to Argentina on Monday and Tuesday, according to ADME.

Temperatures are expected to fall slightly as the week progresses.

For more information on the state of the Argentine power sector see BNamericas' latest Intelligence Series report.